Monday, April 20, 2009

Windshield Shade Solar Cake - Take Two

We had a birthday in the house today, so regular school work was suspended. That, of course, does not mean that unschooling stopped - it never stops, that's the whole point. So, we had a cake mix, a free day, and a clear sky. It was definitely time for another solar cooking lesson.
We followed the normal procedures for using the windshield shade cooker (look back a few posts, or check out , if you don't know how to set one up). For today's cake, we used a black spring form pan in a turkey bag. Because we were trying to bake an entire cake mix worth of cake, we set it out early, at 8:30 a.m., to get as much cooking time as we could.
At 8:40 a.m., a gust of wind knocked the shade and our pan to the ground. Since all of the batter was contained in the turkey bag, we were able to rescue most of it. By 9:00 a.m., our cake was back in the solar oven, but this time in a slightly smaller spring form pan. It baked nicely throughout the day, but was once again knocked to the ground at about 4:30 p.m.

Since it appeared to be done anyway, and was still in one piece, we brought it in to cool. As you can see from our pictures, it was a little flat and lopsided. The outsides were over done and a bit tough, but the middle was perfect. We definitely won't be winning any ribbons at the county fair with this one, but with a little cherry pie filling, and some whipped cream... didn't turn out too bad.

So, we've learned that it is possible for us to cook or bake food in our solar oven (even in the weak Spring sun in the northern Rockies), now we just have to learn how to cook it correctly! I for one am very use to using the temperature and time measurements of a traditional oven. I'm sure we've got a lot of trial and error ahead of us. For instance, today, I realized too late that I should have placed a toothpick inside the bag, beside the pan, so I could have tested whether the cake was done, without needing to open the bag, and thereby lose the heat. It was difficult to judge if the cake was done by eying the top of it.

Now, it's back to the books for a little more research. After all, we don't want to reinvent the wheel, we just want to make it roll.

It's great to be a homeschooler!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow. what an interesting project. the cake looked good.